An Egyptian court has ratified death sentences handed to 21 football fans following riots which killed 74 people last February, sparking protests in Cairo.
Rival fans have united in protest against the sentences, which were announced live on television on Saturday. 28 defendants were acquitted in involvement in the riots which followed a match between rivals Cairo's Al-Ahly and Port Said's Al-Masry, the home side, while 19 others were given jail sentences.
The BBC report that the Port Said stadium security chief Essam Eddin Samak and nine other defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison for their involvement, six received 10-year sentences, two defendants earned five year sentences, while one received just a 12-month sentence.
A pitch invasion from the home fans instigated clashes between the two groups of fans and police, which caused the death of more than 70 people.
The tough sentences, announced in January but not passed until Saturday, caused further rioting, including an attempted storming of the prison holding the accused. Eight people were killed that day, including three policemen.
In anticipation of rioting, police have been mobilised in Port Said but according to the BBC, police in 10 of the 29 Egyptian provinces are striking over being used to fight off protestors and rioters by Mohammed Morsi's government.
Protestors have set fires in the city, including at locations such as a police officers club and the Egyptian Soccer Federation.Suggest a correction